Proposed Bill Would Make Oklahoma Classrooms 'Cell Phone Free'

Proposed Bill Would Make Oklahoma Classrooms 'Cell Phone Free'

A proposed bill in the state legislature would create a pilot program for schools to go cell phone-free.

It would give money to 15 schools for devices to store students' phones during the school day.

The pilot program would last two years.

A charter school in Tulsa has had a no-phone policy for years.

They call it, "Away for the day," which means students get to keep their phones, but, can't have them out.

"It's designed to prioritize the fact that we believe most students learn best and most teachers are able to do their work without constant distractions from smart phones," said Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences principal Dan Han.

Pompayo Munoz has two granddaughters who go to Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences, and for him this policy is simple.

"They come to attend school not to be on the phone," Munoz said.

Broken Arrow High School student, Angela Gomez, is doing a school project on schools that already have a no-phone policy.

Her research shows not having a phone at school is beneficial.

"There are things that I could be doing instead of being on my phone and it could help me better in school and concentrating as well and getting actual work done rather than sidetracking," said Gomez.

Axl Lukenbaugh is a freshman at Booker T Washington High School and says going the entire school day without a phone could put students in a bind.

"There's a lot of things that we might need to use them for and if teachers tell us things that we need to know our parents might need to know like right away or say somebody forgot their computer and they have to do an assignment on their phone then they might need it for that," says LukenBuagh.

But his mother disagrees.

"I think we have problems with attention and I think that the kids need every ounce of relational interaction that they could possibly get. So they've got plenty of hours to look at their phone after school so I think it'd be great if we could lock their phones away," said his mother Melisssa Lukenbaugh.

Melissa says if her kids need to get in touch with her during the school day, they can use the school's phone and if she needs to reach them, she'll call the school.

If this bill passes, the 15 schools will start the program next school year.

Senate Bill 1321 would require the 15 schools to report on student engagement, students' ability to be engaged and learn, and academic performance.